13 Content Ideas That Will Go Viral and Earn Natural Backlinks

Learn the 13 most useful techniques for creating viral content. Infographics, statistics, images, guides, checklists, listicles and more...

13 Content Ideas That Will Go Viral and Earn Natural Backlinks

So you want to earn natural backlinks to your website?

Table of Contents

First, you will agree with me that content today isn’t what it was a few years back.

In the early days, content was supposed to be text and nothing else. Today, it has transformed into a multidimensional interactive medium that can be used in several different ways.

Think of infographics, webinars, podcasts, GIFs, surveys and quizzes, and interactive videos.

These are some of the many content ideas that a marketer like you can use today. Brainstorming and choosing the right content ideas is challenging especially when making your content viral and earning natural backlinks is your top priority.

Not all types of content have the potential to go viral and not all content types will earn natural backlinks.

This guide is all about content ideas that have this proven potential to go viral and earn natural backlinks without you doing a lot of hard work for it.

1. Compile statistics

Have you ever linked to a post that shares latest statistics about a topic of your interest? Well, this is what exactly you should do to earn natural backlinks.
Here is an example post by HootSuite.

Compile statistics in your post to make it go viral

This type of content has several benefits but most important among them is its ability to go viral. Every single stat you’ve included in the content can be used as a social media post for your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other networks.

Better yet, you can create a unique image around a statistic using Buffer, schedule it, and sit back.

Here is how to do it to make your post viral.
i). Install Buffer Chrome extension.
ii). Select the statistics from your blog post, right click, select Buffer and click Create an image with Pablo.

Creating image with Pablo

iii). Customize your image.

Customizing image for social share

iv). Once you’re done, click Share & Download button to share the image on your social accounts via Buffer.

Use Buffer to share an image to your social accounts

A single statistic post like this can provide your social accounts with several posts. Link back to your original content so as to drive traffic back to it.

Here is the best part, there are webmasters, bloggers, and a whole lot of people who are always looking for statistics and stats to add in their posts.
This is what helps you earn natural backlinks on complete autopilot.

The statistic post by HootSuite has 770 backlinks from 306 domains.

Earning backlinks the natural way. Let others share statistics from your website

Anyone who will add a statistic from your blog post will link to it. You continue to earn natural backlinks.
Do you need more backlinks to increase the SEO rankings of your franchise or company?

Send a quick email to the sources you add in your post and let them know that you’ve shared a statistic from their site. Most of these webmasters will link back to you while others will brag about it on their social network.

You’d love doing it, I’m sure.

2. Infographics

Nothing beats infographics when it comes to earning natural backlinks. This is one content idea that will never disappoint you.

Because infographics are in high-demand and they aren’t easy neither cheap to create so if you end up creating an awesome infographic, you can earn backlinks from authority sites like Forbes and Business Insider.

Vertical Measures created an infographic that earned 56 backlinks from 27 domains without any link building effort. They just published the infographic and that’s it. The best part, they earned backlinks from some really high authority sites like Adweek, Content Marketing Institute, and WebProNews.

This isn’t a fluke.

Infographics always deliver massive results in the form of engagement, backlinks, and social shares.
This infographic by CopyBlogger generated 263,000 shares and still counting.

The best way to earn backlinks is through publishing interesting infographics on your blog

If you have an awesome infographic idea, get cracking now.

Wit your infographic ready, use Guestographics technique by Brian Dean to take it to the next level where you’ll acquire hundreds of backlinks naturally and once your infographic makes it to a few authority sites, it will continue to drive traffic and earn backlinks on autopilot.

Meantime, share small versions and screenshots of your infographic on social networks to make it viral. Statistics show that tweets with images have 18% more CTR, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets.

An infographic can provide you with several small images for your Twitter account.

3. Listicles

List posts or listicles are always loved by readers. Listicles are one of the most common content ideas that have the potential to go viral.
The post on Buzzfeed that had most shared in 2015 is a listicle. In fact, the first four most shared posts are all listicles.

List of posts, known as listicles, are always loved bu readers

Millennials love reading listicles and this is what makes your next listicle a potential candidate for a viral post on Facebook.
Your readers prefer seeing a number in the headline, according to a study by Conductor. As much as 36% of readers prefer headlines that have a number in them (listicles).

Readers prefer to see a number in a headline

Because list posts are clear and tell you what exactly you’ll get from the post.

Reader prefer clarity in headlines

Listicles are most likely to go viral and earn natural backlinks at no additional cost. If readers love them, it means everybody loves them whether it be an influencer or a blogger or your business partner.

List posts loved because:
1. They’re easy-to-skim. Readers can quickly scan entire article without spending half an hour reading the full piece.
2. Listicles make a promise as to what a reader will receive. This makes list posts catchy and valuable.
If you’re interested in making your next list post viral, stick to 25 as this is the best number for any list post.

Number 25 is the best number to have in a headline

Unfortunately, nobody knows why it consistently outperforms all other numbers but who cares as long as 25 delivers big time.
Here is a short yet effective guide on how to create a listicle like a pro.

4. Solve a problem

Does your content solve a problem?
Does it provide a solution to a problem that a potential reader is facing?

It should if you want your content to stand out, go viral, and earn a good chunk of natural backlinks from authority sites.
Compare these two posts.

Posts that offer solution to problems are likely to be read more

Both these posts rank on the first page for ‘how to create a WordPress blog’. Website Setup has a detailed step-by-step guide on creating a WordPress blog. It has well over 1500 words.
On the other hand, SiteGround has merely 300 words with two screenshots.

If I’m a beginner, I’d find it difficult to create a blog after reading Site Ground’s post. That thin post will not solve my problem.
However, if I go through Website Setup guide, I’d be able to create a blog. This is what solves my problem.

You don’t necessarily have to write a detailed and lengthy post to solve a problem. A few lines are enough as long as you know what problem your content is solving.
Consider Quora.
It is a perfect example of how to solve problems. For most of the questions, the answers aren’t lengthy but since they aim to solve a problem, they’re appreciated.

Transform your blog into a tiny Quora for your readers. Find problems and solve them so that readers don’t have to go to another source to get more details.
The challenge here is finding complex problems that your target audience is facing and is looking for an answer.
You can find problems on Quora, social networks, relevant forums, and by conducting a survey.

5. Checklists

When it comes to solving a complex problem, nothing is more helpful than checklists.
A checklist makes life easier because it leaves little room for missing something critical and important. The best thing about checklist is that it can be used in all types of niches and industries.

The purpose of a checklist is to simplify tasks and processes that otherwise take a lot of time. This is loved by readers.
Guess what, bloggers and influencers love checklists.

Checklists undoubtedly grab visitor attention

A checklist post can be used as an image, word document, a blog post, or an infographic. This makes it easier to repurpose your checklist post to reach a wider audience.

In the form of an image or an infographic, a checklist becomes instantly shareable and thus has a great potential to go viral.
If your checklist is useful and people love it, you’ll notice that it will start earning natural backlinks for you. This is what exactly happened with Proven when it was featured on Backlinko.

Checklists are helpful by their very nature and that’s where you get all the love from readers and fellow bloggers.

6. 10x content

I have to admit, this is my favorite content idea to generate massive natural backlinks. Why I love it so much?

Because our Charlotte SEO company has tried it several times and it works.

Thanks to Rand Fishkin who coined the term. According to Rand, it is the content that is 10 times better than the best content that is already out there published by someone else.
This means, your content has to be 10 times (at least) better than the already proven best content.

Imagine where you’d stand with your content and brand in a few months if you stick to this rule.

This type of content will win hearts, backlinks, and more.

Here is an example of what 10x content looks like.

Example of ten times better content

It is one in-depth, visually pleasing, and a huge guide on conversion rate optimization. This is the reason it is at the second place in Google for ‘conversion rate optimization’ right after Wikipedia.

Conversion Rate Optimization post ranked on google right after wikipedia post

It has over 1K backlinks from 600 different domains and this exact page receives 3K organic traffic.

The Beginners guide to Conversion Rate Optimization post statistics

This is what happens when you create 10x content.

People crave for this type of content and they link to it, share it, and talk about it. Imagine creating 10x content consistently will take your backlinks and traffic to a whole new level.

7. Skyscraper technique

The “Skyscraper Technique” is another content creation technique that’s similar to 10x content but it focuses more on promoting your awesome content.

The term was coined by Brian Dean.

It is a three-step content creation idea:

  1. Find content that’s link-worthy and people have already linked to it.
  2. Create something better.
  3. Reach out to the right people and show them your content so that they can link to it.

The focus is on link building and creating content that’s better in any way from the best performing content.
Here is a checklist to get started with skyscraper Technique.

Using Skyscraper Technique to gain audience in your content marketing campaign

The most challenging part of the game is finding link-worthy content. This is where you’ve to seek help from BuzzSumo.

Use BuzzSumo to discover link worthy content

Once you’ve published the content on your blog, the next big challenge is reaching out to the people who have linked to similar content in the past. Because your content is better and detailed, they’re more likely to link to your piece too.

This content idea will help you earn natural backlinks.

8. Provoke a response

One of the easiest ways to make your content viral is to respond to a current phenomenon or a trend. This makes it super-easy to make yourself stand out from the crowd.

Here is an article that Dale Cudmore wrote in response to Skyscraper technique.

Provoke a response technique

While most of the other marketers were busy creating case studies and sharing their results of skyscraper technique, Cudmore did something different yet logical.
It turned out to be a perfect response post with data, statistics, and examples.

This post ranks number 3 for ‘skyscraper technique’ in Google, has been shared 66 times, and have 89 comments. The best part, Brian Dean has to come forward for a response and to defend his technique.

Provoke a response from post author and "drag" people into conversation

When Brian Dean commented on the post, most of his followers had to jump and take part in the discussion. This is what makes response posts so awesome.
The post didn’t really go viral but it received all the attention, backlinks, and exposure. This is the reason why it is ranking number 3 for a search query that has 2,370K search results.

These types of response content are healthy and promote positive discussion. They’re great for acquiring relevant backlinks, driving traffic, and at some point, your post might go viral.

There are certain niches that do very well if you create a response such as Politics, Entertainment, Sports, among many others.

9. Guides

Guides, whether you publish them as a blog post or distribute them as PDF, provide you with a great way to earn backlinks. The Beginner’s Guide to SEO by SEJ is a perfect example of a detailed guide.

Guides are a great way to earn backlinks

A guide is helpful, solves a problem, and is detailed that makes it a great content idea for readers. They love it and they don’t even hesitate to give their email address to download a PDF version of the guide. The best part, you can use a single guide in several ways.

  1. You can send it as a free gift to build your email list.
  2. It can be used as a lead magnet.
  3. You can use it to earn natural backlinks.
  4. A detailed guide has the potential to go viral on a social network.
  5. It can be repurposed to drive traffic from several channels.

A guide that solves a unique problem of the readers is always appreciated. Your primary goal should be to help readers instead of selling or pre-selling a product. Guides that try to sell your products won’t earn natural links.

In order to earn links, make sure your guide is not promotional in nature. It must deliver exceptional value to the readers.

10. Videos

How often do you create non-promotional videos for your brand?
Not a lot of businesses focus on creating valuable videos that will be shared and linked by hundreds of people. The following video is a great example of informational videos that earn backlinks. It shows the viewers how to build a tiny house in a week for $2K.

Creating non-promotional videos for your brand as a part of your marketing strategy

These are the types of videos that go viral as opposed to a product video or a video that talks about the features of your latest product.
According to Cisco, online videos will account for over 80% of all consumer traffic by 2020. Videos are the future content. Videos can be shared easily on social networks and they have the highest probability of getting viral.

In order to earn backlinks from your videos, you don’t have to post them on YouTube instead make your video exclusively available on your website.
Whiteboard Friday by Moz is a perfect example. They publish video on their site with transcription and they also provide the embed code available to anyone who wants to use the video. Anyone who embeds the video will link to Moz.
This is what you should do.

When you post videos on YouTube, you don’t earn backlinks because viewers will be directed to your YouTube channel. Don’t let this happen.

11. Graphics

Infographics and videos aren’t the only content ideas that will go viral and earn backlinks. There are several types of visual content that you can create. These include images, screenshots, memes, GIFs, vectors, and graphics.

Statistics show that posts having at least one or more images get more shares as compared to posts without an image.

Posts with images are more shared

Similarly, tweets without an image aren’t shared as much as a tweet having one or more images.

Social posts get more attention if they contain an image

Instead of sharing someone else’s images, the best approach is to create your own images and share them with your audience. I have already discussed how to create images with Pablo via Buffer.

You can also use Canva to create unique images in several sizes.
Graphics that you create promote your brand and each time they’re shared, you can earn a backlink. You’ve to provide a share code on your site with images. OkDork does it like a pro.

Offer your visitors a code they can embed onto their website

Not just they provide a snippet but they add their logo on every image they create. This helps with brand awareness.
The best thing about creating graphics is that you’ll rank for your graphics and images in Google. If your image ranks for a search query, you’ll drive heaps of organic traffic and earn natural backlinks from several sites who will use your image.

Graphics and other forms of visual content are the quickest ways to create viral content and get backlinks.

12. Interviews

Interviews are underrated but they’re an exceptional content idea for several good reasons. Generating links for an interview is a piece of cake because the celebrity will the share interview with their audience too.

You don’t have to do all the hard work.
Things turn out in your favor if you manage to interview a famous influencer.

Here is an example of Neil Patel’s interview. Check comments and shares.

Interviews make an exceptional content idea

I mean who in the world shares an interview over 1.5K times? This is done by people who follow Neil Patel.
And that’s the whole idea behind publishing interviews of influencers and micro influencers on your blog.

You earn natural backlinks from your followers, influencer’s followers, their friends, and you can use the quotes to create several social posts.
The best part, it is user-generated content. You just have to ask a few questions. All the content comes from the interviewee.

One great way to make your interview go viral is to interview a micro influencer such as an Instagrammer. Ask influencer to share his interview with his followers.

The rest becomes easy.
Traffic, links, and more…

13. Case studies

If you want to earn authoritative backlinks without asking for it, you need to produce more in-depth case studies. Of all the different types of written content that drives conversion, case studies are more powerful.

Case Story will make you stand better before your audience

A case study is a step towards proving to your target audience especially customers and clients that you’re actually who you say you are.
This is so important because a lot of companies can brag about their achievements — but how many of them can provide verifiable data to back up their claims?

When it comes to earning natural backlinks, feel free to consult with an Atlanta SEO Company but in the meantime here are a few reasons why sharing case studies on a regular basis can help you:

i). Focus on customer’s pain points: A detailed case study could be the tipping point between your business and your customer’s needs or pain points.
You see, when you start sharing your own story or a client’s story — how it all started, and what your thoughts were, your readers will be engaged and eager to know more.
Although, the case study you’re published may not be directly what your new customers want, it will further buttress the fact that you care about your old customers and they do get results from implementing your tips or working with you.

ii). Niche-specific: The reason why people love case studies is that they’re niche-specific and focuses on the current challenges or needs of your audience.

This makes it easier to link to — because it can appeal to a similar audience type when shared. Each time I write a case study, I get hundreds of Tweets and Facebook shares within 72 hours.

No, you don’t have to ask for social shares or links, it’ll happen naturally provided that your case study is helpful.

iii). Seamless transition: The structure of a case study makes it unique and in demand by bloggers and marketing agencies.
You can easily navigate through a case study. It usually begins with the challenge the company or website is facing, then the solution is deployed, and the results attained.

Of course, the challenges may put you off but the results will inspire you. When you write your own case study to share a client’s challenge, solution, and results, make sure it’s organized properly. If possible, use a table of contents so that readers can navigate to the section they want.

iv). Authoritative: It’s a lot easier to write a “how to” guide. You could cut corners. But when it comes to writing a case study from scratch, you can’t afford to take shortcuts. You need to have a firsthand experience with the client, conduct your own experiments, and have a documented SEO strategy that delivers results. There’s a lot of work involved in producing a case study — that’s why people perceive them as authoritative resources.

Neil Patel, Pat Flynn, YaroStarak, and thousands of successful bloggers use case studies to build their personal brand and establish authority. Remember that more people will link to your case study if they respect you as an authority in your field.

v). Data-driven: Data builds authority. We’re living in a data-driven economy. It’s easy to mention in a post how you increased your client’s revenue by 28%. There’s no proof to that.
However, when you write a case study, you will show the strategies adopted, the bottlenecks, the split test results, tools you used, what worked, and the results you got. In a case study, you may also provide a way for people who are in doubt, to verify your data.

So, people link to case studies that have lots of data and provide insights that can help them.
Case studies work best for the service industry and for SaaS companies. You just have to create a case study that shows how awesome your product is.
Since case studies are naturally data-driven therefore, you’ll see a lot of people linking to them. Case studies show readers what they should do in order to get similar results. This is what makes a case study an awesome content idea.

This 7 creative social media marketing mini case studies on Social Media Examiner has 4K shares.

There are two ways to create a case study.

1. You can create your own case study based on your product or service. Here is an example by Buffer where it shares the case study of how About.com saves hours while using Buffer app.
2. You can compile case studies from different sources just like the Social Media Examiner post above.

So even if you don’t have a product or service, you can still use case studies to earn natural backlinks and make your content go viral. For instance, if you run a blog on weight loss, you can use other people’s weight loss success stories on your blog.


Content is the essence. No matter what type of content you generate to earn backlinks, drive shares, and make it go viral, it has to be valuable and informative.
Content that isn’t valuable won’t do anything no matter how awesome or new your content idea is.

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